India Gets a Little Gay

When my friends and I went on a train journey through the state of Maharashtra a few years ago, we somehow got in a discussion with our waiter about India’s gay community. Our waiter genuinely had no idea what the concept of gay was. He was nineteen. We weren’t surprised, considering the traditional “taboo” the lifestyle comes with in India, and the fact homosexuality is generally not discussed. But thanks to several organizations like the Naz Foundation (India) Trust, National AIDS Control Organization, and perhaps a dash of Bollywood and its fans, the country is slowly stepping out of the closet and embracing a “pink economy” boom.

Last year, the country lifted a ban on homosexual sex. This triggered a spike in acceptance, and top gay pioneers are riding that card with full force, laying claim to the so-called “pink economy” that in the US alone is worth $640 billion a year. Let’s face it: gays have money and will spend it (thanks to—besides ambition and talent—DINK: Double Income No Kids).

In popular cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, entrepreneurs are targeting the gay business. Since July, more than fifteen bars across New Delhi have hosted gay events. It’s a somewhat sensitive movement, but it’s a movement nontheless. While same-sex couples still can’t get married in India, there’s always Nepal, which hosted the first Indian gay wedding last week and first Gay Pride Parade in Kathmandu yesterday. Work it!